Thursday, December 30, 2010

Why, to make you think of course!

Why do we worry about how we are dressed? Why are we worried about not having the latest gear? Why are we worried about catching fish? Why are we worried about another fisherman beating us to the river? Why are we worried about dragging our gear through the mud? Why are we worried about cigar ash burns on our clothes? Why are we worried about people who trespass? Why are we worried about waters we will never fish? Why are we worried about fly’s we have not yet tied? Why are we worried about leased fishing access? Why are we worried about fishing guides? Why are we worried about fly fisherman whom rakes gravel? Why are we worried about being politically correct? Why are we worried about the wind knots in our leaders? Why are we worried about how secure that knot you just tied? Why are we worried about just how much floatant we just applied to that dry fly? When did ordering coffee become a big pain in the ass for some? Why do we recheck to make sure we lock the truck before we head to the river? Why do we adorn ourselves with all the fishing gadgets known to man? Why do we bring our cell phones to the river? Why do we think of past people and pets we have lost during our life time out on the river? Why do we always say “one more cast”? Why do we not change flies more often? Why do people use bobbers on spey rods? Why do we care?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pontoon Rod Holding Tubes - How to Make Them

Hello folks once again my friends and I have come up with a great little idea. I have some friends who own pontoon boats and love to fish river and streams. We also like to take multiple rods with us. When tooning these rivers I noticed really fast I spend a lot of time worrying about where my rods were. I did not want to lose one or break one. So after my first float trip I thought about placing the fly rods in tubes. I talked with my good friend Mark Lowden who went on the Michigan trip this year and we came up with the conceptual idea a long time ago. At the time I lived in an apartment and did not have the tools to create these rod tube holders. I described the idea to him and he proceeded to make the first versions. That was about five years ago. Years later I would realize I would need to yet again make my rods tubes for I had no idea where the first versions went too I had my good friend Jim Stuard agree to help me out and make the tubes for me. He is a master craftsman and has more hand working tools at his disposal than a Sears Hardware store! I purchased schedule 40 pvc in 10 feet sticks. There is no reason to use schedule 80 it’s too heavy! The following pictures outline the construction of the rod holding tubes. Keep in mind that you are putting a assembled rod into the tube indexed by the slots cut. This will have to tendency to force the stripping guide against the tube as well forcing the back handle to lever up at the end. For rods with fighting butts or elongated handles on two handers, you'll need to make adjustments after the initial cuts. Remember, this is just a guide, not a 'by the numbers' how-to.The photos are by Jim Stuard from Fly Fish Ohio Thanks to my friends who helped me when I needed it, thanks guys!

The list of tools and materials is as follows:

1 length of pvc pipe either 1 1/2" diameter for regular sized fly rods or 2" for spey/switch sized rods.
1 cap per tube being built.
1 roll of velcro tape sections. The kind with a wrapping hole on one end of each piece.

Tape Measure or ruler
Sharpie marker
Jigsaw. Preferrably with adjustable speeds
Pliers for trimming the saw blade
Selection of rasps, files and flat bladed screwdrivers for finish scraping.
Drill and bits sized to line slot (see captions for more on line slot widths)

Begin by placing your rod in the way you want to carry it, next to the PVC tubing. In this case, we have a 4pc. spey outfit with a flared butt on the handle that will have to be accommodated.

  Next, mark the end of the scabbard with a sharpie. Allow about an inch of extra space for the scabbard to fully protect the rod handle.

Mark the end of the smaller slot where the fly line will protrude. This is a nominal measurement but a good guide is about half to a third of the way from the reel to the stripping guide.

Mark where the line slot ends and widens out to accommodate the handle and reel. Mark between the reel seat and reel body, as shown.
Once you're satisfied with your layout measurements, begin by cutting the tube to length. I used a hacksaw but any fine toothed saw capable of cutting a material as soft as PVC is fine. You're going for a square cut here but honestly, it doesn't matter.

Begin the layout for the double-slot system by placing a centerline up the pipe to the farthest mark for the small slot. This will give you a better idea of how far to each side you want to make your layout lines for the slots. The easiest way to do this is to lay your knuckles to the side of the pipe and just sweep the line forward, away from you. An old Architects trick for drawing a perfectly straight line is to simply draw two points and then while watching only the finish point, start drawing. Works nearly every time and with practice, you can do it with great accuracy.

With a ruler, mark a line to either side of the centerline that will give you about a 1 1/4" wide slot for the handle/reel. This is for a spey outfit so smaller fly rods will require a smaller slot. In the past, I've found that anywhere from 7/8" to 1" works. Same for the line slot. For the heavy spey line, I went wider, starting around 3/8" but 1/4" will handle most regular fly lines.

Connect the two slots by arbitrarily forming a gentle 'S' curve between them.

Begin the cutting process by cutting a relief hole at the end of the small slot. Keep in mind that the entire slot will compress down towards the end of the tube because of a tension release in the PVC. You'll have to account for that with subsequent trimming but that's why they call it 'fine tuning'.

Here's the completely laid out series of slots.

If your saw has a speed control, slow it way down. You'll actually melt the PVC if it gets too hot. It won't do any harm but, trust me, you'd much rather cut a solid material, than gravy. Run the saw with the guides indexed on the tube. Be careful of the tube collapsing and grabbing the blad. What most likely will happen is it will bounce you out of the channel with great force but it's not very dangerous. Take it slow and steady.
The next three photos cover finishing the cut edges on the inside of the slots. The PVC is soft so files, edges of file handles, four-way rasps and screwdrivers all work to scrape down the sharp edges. You don't want to go damaging your fly line before you ever get it wet!

The fastening strap slot is around 1/8" by just a little wider than the velcro tape you're using. I just used a 1/8" drill bit and drilled a series of holes along the marked slot. By gently running the drill and moving it back and forth, you can actually cut sideways with the bit. Be careful, as a bit this small is easy to snap. Once again, slow and steady. Once you get the slot cut, slowly run the bit back and forth to smooth it out.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mother Natures Stinkeye!

I awoke today and looked at the weather report 3-5” of snow winds 15-20 mph and good old mother nature was giving me the stink eye! Well I thought you not going to win today lil lady! I headed out to a warm water discharge on the Ohio River today. I got there about 1030am and saw no other cars in the lot, and thought to myself this is either a bad thing or a good thing! Well it was a bad thing. I was fishing for any fat girls, and their boyfriends that may be around ie White Bass, Whipers, or Stripped Bass. The river still had 4” of visibility and too much sand and silt in the water column. The warm water coming out of the creek from the power plant was not really that warm either “this was the biggest problem why there was very little bait and very little fish around”! I was also faced with a new deposit of about 12” of mud death! What I mean since here in the Old Dirty “the Ohio River” she has huge siltation problems for various reasons, and I could only get to one side of the creek to fish her! The side we all fish is the deposit side of the river for all silt and sand. Not a great time was had for the two hours I attempted to fish her. I would then pick up camp and head to Meldhal Dam down river on the Ohio. They are putting in a hydroelectric dam there so I headed there with no mind to fish her just to see it! Enjoy the pics gents and be well! Notice the progression of the weather going from sugar “not really” to sh!t!